Transcendence of the Western Mind

Transcendence of the Western Mind - Samuel Avery All is immaterial and the material is not real, he says. He'll quote Bishop Barkley at length and slightly change Barkley's conclusion that everything resides in the mind of God, and he hypothesizes a spirit (or a soul) of some kind instead. He'll further tie that with a version of the Copenhagen Interruption that says matter only exist when it is observed with a consciousness. His thesis is not as absurd as it might sound, and he steps the listener through it by clearly explaining the measurement problem within physics and provides an explanation. He mostly is trying to justify how our consciousness exist everywhere and we only experience from ourselves by looking outside of ourselves because of our senses.

My perspective is radically different from the author. I think consciousness and the world are best explained by the material. There are no truths but only perspectives. The author takes matter out of the world. The way we perceive the world is with our five senses and they correspond with the three space dimensions, time and mass (space-time/time), he says. He'll even say that consciousness doesn't reside in our skull, but our skull resides in consciousness and we are mostly limited by thinking else-wise because of the Western way of considering our being (he definitely has an Eastern approach).

I once listened to a lecture (on a Great Course lecture on Great Minds of the Western Tradition) which explained Barkley and his beliefs and pointed out that nobody has really refuted Barkley because he is totally coherent within his belief system. I can say the same for this author. I liked Avery's presentation so much I went back and re-listened to the first half of this book to make senses of what he had to say. I never do that and especially not for a book that I rated so low.

The author makes some good points about how scientific theories aren't shown to be necessary. He'll even talk about Copernicus and point out that the sun being the center of the universe is not necessary to explain the Solar System (though by no means is the author a Geo-centrist). We adopted it because it is more convenient and easier to deal with. I won't say this authors thesis is less correct than the more standard explanations for consciousness, but until I'm convinced otherwise I will just ignore his thesis.

He does explain his theory quite well and explains physics and the nature of space better than most. In addition, he has a great way of how we should think about the future and deal with the merging of humans with our digital world and how we need to use this to do something about global warming. I liked the author's take enough to listen to the whole book and the first half twice, but I'm not a bio-centrist and think my time is best spent looking elsewhere.